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September 10, 2009

Kathy Griffin Purgatory

Tuesday night we attended Kathy Griffin's book signing event in New York City. Or well, we sort of did; "attended" might not be the right word to use. Kathy was scheduled to sign copies of her new memoir, Official Book Club Selection, at the Tribeca Barnes and Noble at 7 pm.

Having been to a few events at that particular B&N before, we thought we knew what to expect. We expected it to be crazy crowded, to probably not get a seat, and even wait on line for a bit. But we had no idea...

[Just an FYI: We will be reviewing Kathy's book when we're done reading it - so far it's awesome - but this is just a review of the event itself.]

Apparently, this was a "bracelet" event. Yeah, it would've been nice if anyone had warned us of that. Sigh. (The event page on B&N's website doesn't look like it said anything about it.) Some people had apparently gone to B&N as early as 6:00 am to buy books and get bracelets. We... did not, for two main reasons: We didn't know we could do that and we also have, you know, lives and stuff that prohibited us from spending the entire day in Manhattan loitering around the bookstore. Anyway, we're not sure exactly how things were supposed to work, but that was the word on the street with the cashiers when we were buying our books. [I do want to give a shoutout to the cashier who helped me, because while some of women behind the counter clearly seemed like they couldn't wait for the Kathymania to be over, she got it and even said "I feel your pain" in a sincere way, and we all know that's not an easy phrase to sell, but she did and it made me feel better, even if she didn't mean it. But I digress.]

So, after we got our books, the real fun began. First we were told by one employee to "just go over there and hang out, you should be able to get in". Then when we got to the section where the event was to take place... another, much louder employee asked us what we were doing there. Of course, when we tried to answer her she wouldn't let us say much...

What are you doing here?

We're just waiting for the event to start. Where--

You can't just wait here to see her. These people have been waiting! You have to get to the back of the line.

Yeah, that's what we were going to ask, where is the--

Go to the back of the line! At to the other end of the store!

Okay, but where is--

The other end of the store. The other end of the store! You have to go to the back of the line at the other end of the store!


We started to walk away when another employee gave us actual helpful information on how to find the end of the line at the other end of the store (it's a big fucking Barnes & Noble, okay). We thanked her for giving directions rather than yelling the same thing at us over and over. The mean, loud employee heard us say that and then started to try to guide us, but we cut her off, "Yeah, the other end of the store, we've got it now, thanks".

So we finally found ourselves at the mythical "other end of the store" and another very helpful employee gave us the most specific directions ever... the end of the line is behind that guy in the pink shirt. Sweet! Now let us tell you about this line... it was long. Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. Wow. We knew that Kathy Griffin wasn't exactly "D-List" anymore (if she ever really was), but we were not prepared for this kind of a crowd.

Let's just say, we've never spent that much time in a bookstore before...the line wound itself up and down almost every aisle of the store (which explained why it took us a minute to figure out where the "end" actually was), so if anybody needs to know if the Tribeca B&N carries a particular book, feel free to ask, because we probably saw it. While most of the fans waiting on line killed the time by reading Kathy's book, we didn't want to do that. We flipped through it a bit, but when we read a book, we want to really read a book... sit down, get comfortable... none of this standing in line bullshit reading! No way! We instead spent the three hours (yes, THREE hours!) on line being our usual loud, obnoxious selves. We critiqued every book that we passed on our "tour" of Barnes and Noble, as the line wove in and out of various shelves and sections.

In case you have any doubt about our level of sanity, here is a selection of our twitter updates from the night of the event:

So nobody told us that the Kathy Griffin signing required wristbands that were given out this morning. Fuck! Online in Barnes & Noble Siberia #suckit

#barnes&noblehatesevilslutswholovekathygriffin #nikonlovesbabies

So the purple wristband means yes, green means maybe, & no wristband means #suckit Save us @officialkathyg!

Some of the Barnes & Noble employees are helpful & feeling our pain & some are...not. #kathygriffinpurgatory

We can hear Kathy but we can't see her. #survivorsofwristbandgate

Reading a very informative book called How to Succeed with Women. #kathygriffinpurgatory

Now we're reading a book called Flirtexting. It's an actual book that exists. #wheresourbookdeal?

Just FYI, the Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts is 400 pages long. We're up to candle carving. #kathygriffinpurgatory

(Yes, if we were going to have to be tortured by standing on that annoying line... we were going to torture our twitter followers as well. If you're not already following us, you should, so you'll never miss out on fun stuff like this.)

We have to say that as frustrating as the line was, we actually did have a little fun and it was well worth it. We befriended the three girls who were on line in front of us and discussed important topics like vampires, the most depressing books we had to read in high school (The Jungle, anyone?) and why anyone would need to build their own miniature Stonehenge. And the cute gay guys were nice to look at. (They weren't looking back at us, but that's okay.) We also have totally come up with the best book idea, but we're not telling yet so no one can steal it. Where's our book deal!?

We weren't able to get any pictures with Kathy or have her personalize the books (just a signature) because she wanted to be able to accommodate as many people as possible. But we were lucky to have made it to the front of the line at all. Let us just say that Kathy Griffin is "good people". She had been signing books for hours and yet was still going... and going strong. She was still smiling, and cheerful, and funny... and gracious. She literally thanked every single person for coming and for buying the book. Now that's class.

We were able to slip her an EvilSlutClique sticker before we left. She asked to be an honorary member of the clique and we, of course, agreed. We told her that she's basically the patron saint celebrity of Evil Slutopia, and she said, "I love 'saint' and 'slut' in the same sentence." We were pretty pissed at Barnes and Noble for not advertising the "rules" of the event a little bit better... but the truth is, it would take a really long line to keep us away from Kathy.

Our final twitter update of the night:
Success! Got our books signed & when we left Kathy had been signing for 2 hours & was still going. She's awesome #kathygriffinheaven
Thanks again Kathy! Barnes & Noble, you can suck it! You know who else can suck it? Perez Hilton...

We were about to post this yesterday, when we noticed this lovely blog entry from ol' Perez:
Kathy Griffin A Mega Bitch At Book Signing!

So we hear from the folks that went to her book reading and signing in New York City on Tuesday night!

Infamous D-Lister Kathy Griffin had a few not-so-pleasant surprises for the thousand or so fans that showed up to the her reading/signing last night.

For starters, you had to purchase a book even just to be present for the reading, which isn't the norm for most book releases. Then, once you shelled out $25, you were given a wristband. Depending on how early (or how late) you were to the party, you were given a certain color wristband. Some got you seating, some got you standing-room-only, and some got you jack shit, as we learned that just by having a wristband, didn't mean your book would get signed.

Then, after all that, Kathy didn't even do a reading, saying that she wanted to leave enough time to get to everyone during the signing and didn't even personalize the books!!!

Of course, if you look at the actual blog he cited, they didn't call her a bitch, at all. In fact, I think the exact quote was:
All of that said, do we love Kathy Griffin? To bits and pieces. Would we shell out cash for another of her stand-up shows at Madison Square Garden, or anywhere else? Without question. Worth every penny.
Somehow Perez inferred "mega bitch" from that lovely description? We will say that for once, the comments on Perez's post are worth reading, because a bunch of commenters basically school him on the many ways that he's totally wrong, which include:

1. We highly doubt that Kathy herself handled the logistics of the event and came up with the wristband idea herself, so it's pretty ridiculous to blame her for it. Several commenters claiming to be employees of B&N or other big bookstores pointed out that signing events with very high-profile authors are usually organized with the same or a similar system. Yes, we were annoyed that the store didn't do a better job of publicizing the fact that there was going to be a wristband system, and a few employees were rude and unhelpful. But on the other hand, most of the employees were helpful and were trying to do their best with a crowd that had seemingly exceeded their expectations.

2. It's true that Kathy didn't do a reading from the book, but from what we could hear in our spot on the line and what we heard later from other people who were closer, she did do about 10-15 minutes of standup before she started signing, and the reason that she didn't speak for longer was that she wanted to try to sign as many books as possible and she knew that there were a lot of people waiting.

3. It's also true that she didn't personalize books or pose for pictures with people, but again, that was done so that she could get to as many people as possible. It also wasn't a surprise to anyone who was waiting on line, because a B&N employee walked down the entire line to make sure that everybody was aware of it. They could have just turned away anyone who didn't have a wristband (including us, and we were prepared for the possibility that we wouldn't make it to the front of the line in time, cause did we mention it was really fucking long?), but instead they tried everything possible to make sure that everyone got to meet Kathy and get their book signed. How exactly does any of this make Kathy Griffin a "mega bitch"?

4. As we mentioned before, when we finally did make it to the front of the line, Kathy was about as far from "bitchy" as you could get. By the time we got to her, she had been signing for about two hours, and she was still cheerful, friendly, and gracious. (And this was after she had spent a full day doing press for the book release.) She thanked us for buying the book, and even though the B&N people were keeping the line going as quickly as possible, Kathy was still taking a second to chat with each person and didn't make anybody feel rushed. When we left the store a few minutes later, she was still signing.

Basically, Perez is wrong in every way possible (we know that's totally shocking). The good news is that if last night's huge crowd is any indication, Kathy Griffin definitely doesn't need his help to make it to the A-list.


Wendi said...

I'm jealous! I can't wait to get the book. I've loved her since I first saw her do a small show 15 years ago in L.A.

And Perez can indeed suck it.

Anonymous said...

She is so cool.

Another gracious book signer is Sandra Lee. (Insert snicker here.) She actually personally handed out appetizers to her line.

Linda-Sama said...

awesome! I'm going to see her in Chicago next month! love KG!

Anonymous said...

wow! Thanks for the update; I was kicking myself for NOT going -- but I live in West Chester County and it would have been a "school night" trip, etc., etc. How could anyone NOT anticipate the crowds at this point in her career? IF you watch her Bravo show, it would be very difficult not to get pretty choked up at the episode she did in Palm Springs with the THOUSANDS who showed up there; no one in the history of this country (and I do NOT think that's an exaggeration) has championed gay rights as this woman has; I believe she is personally responsible for elevated self esteem among countless #s of teens and "post-teens" to the point, yes, where she has saved lives -- again, NOT an exaggeration; what IS an exaggeration, unfortunately, is when the show shows her sitting in an empty DVD signing waiting for people to show up -- I am sure every one who showed up last week expected to just waltz in there, dazzle her with their gay bons mots and walk home 1/2 hr later -- and why shouldn't they have? That's the basic premise of the show but I saw her years ago at Joe's Pub and Caroline's and knew then she was destined for greatness; I have seen her perform 2 shows less than a week apart and the shows were ENTIRELY different; that's genius (MOST standups, you have seen them once and you basically hear the same material the 2nd/3rd time -- and I'm talking really good standups like Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Mario Cantone, Judy Gold, etc.) -- I feel your pain too -- and love that you had a happy ending (so to speak) but I am really glad I didn't make the trip; besides, meeting celebrities is always a strange / weird thing for me; I blush, get nervous, etc. not fun for either of us! I once stood in line for a Liza DVD signing (who I ADORE) and while in line, I just thought to myself, "What can I possibly say to Ms. Minnelli that she hasn't already heard before and that I could possibly deliver without CRYING"? LOL so I left, walked thru central park and went home and played my "LIZA WITH A Z" DVD